These days, thanks to London, swimming is a very hot topic. However, this particular “pool” doesn’t really include much of a deep end. NBA hardcores, aside from witnessing utter destruction in the form of 83-point wins, may be wondering about what’s left of the NBA free agent pool. Is there anyone still out there that can contribute to my team?
We’ve now reached the dog days of the NBA offseason where Summer League has come and gone, rosters are taking a more significant shape and yes, the #Dwightmare is still ongoing. Let’s have a look at some key players still on the market:
Since C.J. Miles officially signed with the Cavaliers yesterday, this should put any of the “Barbosa is open to signing with the Cavs” rumors to rest. As it’s very unlikely that he will be back with the Pacers, both the Lakers and Wizards could be looking his way. After his time playing for his native Brazil’s team in the Olympics concludes, we’ll likely hear more Barbosa talk. Primarily a second-team spark plug in his career, the Brazilian Blur could provide either of those teams with some depth and bench scoring, particularly the Wizards, who’ll be relying heavily on their 3rd overall draft pick, Bradley Beal for significant minutes right away. While he’s more of an undersized shooting guard, another Barbosa selling point is his ability to also back up the point guard position, which always has a spot in the league.
Blatche was a victim of the almighty amnesty clause in Washington. Blatche has had an extremely up and down past two seasons, playing like a borderline All-Star in 2010, then having trouble staying on the court and in the rotation last season. This seems like the obvious reason that there have been no serious offers come into his camp. His talent shouldn’t be discounted, as he averaged 16.8 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 1.5 spg and 0.8 bpg in 2010. A team willing to roll the dice on his healthy and character issues, may gain some high quality minutes.
Similar to Barbosa, Delfino was being courted by the Cavs and the Miles signing likely takes him out of their pursuit, even though he can play both the shooting guard and small forward positions. The Rockets were reported to have a two-year offer on the table for him, but there’s been no movement on that front. Delfino is a versatile player that can provide outside shooting and potentially double-digit scoring on a given night. He’s really a player that could fit with any roster in the league, as he provides a quality, all-around skill set. It also may come down to who has money left, and wants to spend it on him at this point.
Farmar was immediately waived when arriving in Atlanta via the Joe Johnson deal with Brooklyn. With the backup point guard spot being something normally coveted in the league, Farmar’s solid play with the Nets last season (he averaged a career-high 10.4 ppg) may earn him some backup minutes somewhere. Of course, because of his stint in Israel during the lockout last season, he does pose a flight risk to return to Europe instead of vying for a spot in the league, which he has said he is considering.
Josh Howard is an ultimate example of a “fall from grace” type of player. Considered a steal in the draft, the swingman had some excellent years in Dallas (including a 2007 All-Star appearance), before a couple of trades and injuries hampered his career the past two seasons, split between Washington and Utah. Down from his career average of 14.5 ppg and 5.7 rpg, he averaged 8.7 ppg and 3.7 rpg in 23.0 mins per game. So essentially, he was still a contributor. From the looks of things, there are five teams currently interested in Howard’s services, one of which he will hand pick “very soon.” The Nets, Warriors, Pacers, Knicks and his team last season, the Jazz are the suitors waiting for his choice.
Jodie Meeks (Restricted)
Meeks is primarily a one-dimensional player, in that he can provide some bursts of scoring in the form of decent three-point shooting. The offers to Meeks are also effected by Miles’ signing in Cleveland, with those same teams, as in the Lakers and Wizards (and Bucks) will remain interested. He will help a team’s second unit with some shooting for what I would assume would be a reasonable salary. Though if too reasonable, the Sixers may match an offer sheet and bring him back.
The career of Darko Milicic is a tale in it’s own right. Even now, after he has bounced around a few NBA teams and not stuck, his agent Marc Cornstein claims that Darko will “be back in the NBA next season” and is giving no thought to playing overseas. Word on the street is that the Miami Heat are looking hard at him right now. Being a team without a legitimate, quality center, they seemingly don’t carry a big risk in bringing in Darko for his defensive presence and minimal post-scoring contributions. Besides, what a warm and fuzzy storyline it would be to have four of the top five players in the 2003 Draft (LeBron, Darko, Bosh, Wade) all in the same place. You couldn’t make this up, especially nine years ago.
Agent Bill McCandless sums up Pietrus’ free agent status rather bluntly. “MP will not play for the veteran’s minimum. It’s not happening. That’s the beginning, middle and end of that… He is not a veteran’s minimum player. There is no chance he’ll ever sign for that.” Wow. It’s pretty safe to say that Pietrus won’t be back in Boston if those are the demands. He does bring some above-average perimiter defense and streaky shooting to the table, but at it’ll be difficult to say which teams might be willing to throw money at him. Apparently he does have a “huge” offer overseas, so his backup plan is in place.
I like Craig Smith’s game. Already a 6-year veteran, “The Rhino” is an undersized but banging power forward that has the potential to help a team’s interior scoring and rebounding numbers, given the opportunity and more than ten minutes per game. His numbers with the Blazers last season don’t speak to much (3.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg), but when given 20 mpg (as in 2007 and 2008 with the Timberwolves), he averaged 9.8 ppg and 4.2 rpg over those two season. That would be considered solid bench production, and it’s not like that grows on trees. I’m confident he’ll get picked up.
It just feels like Shelden Williams has been in the NBA for well over a decade, but that’s not the case. Perhaps it’s the seven teams he’s played for in his six years? That’s probably it. Regardless, he started 35 games for the Nets last season, averaging career-highs in minutes (22.0), rebounds (6.0), steals (0.8) and blocks (0.7). Still only 28 years old, he could give a team a boost in the middle for a minimal cost.
Ivan Johnson, Dominic McGuire, Anthony Tolliver, D.J. White, Bill Walker, Ryan Gomes, Gilbert Arenas, Michael Redd.
Members of the “old-age” club
Derek Fisher, Tracy McGrady, Kenyon Martin, Troy Murphy, Joel Pryzbilla.